Meanwhile in THIS secret back room the administration is giving away the Internet to its corporate sponsors
Tim Karr includes this MTV clip in his post, with the caption: "Obama pledges to appoint Net Neutrality supporters to the FCC."
"The mere existence of these private meetings reveals to us [an FCC] chairman who has fallen far short of expectations. Instead Genachowski is shying from the need to fortify the Internet's open architecture in favor of deals made between DC power brokers. These deals will determine who ultimately controls Internet content and innovation."
-- Tim Karr, in "The Fate of the Internet --
I know I said last night I was probably going to add some further thoughts to Howie's post today on the secret shenanigans of the deficit commission, but that will have to wait, now that it appears the administration has back rooms going all over the District of Columbia where the hard-earned treasure of Americans is being handed over to corporate special interests under the White House's unannounced but seemingly in-full-swing Right-Wing "Centrist" Giveaway Program.
I doubt that the administration back-doorkeepers are so crass as to demand payment from the corporate negotiators as they enter their particular back room. Probably it can be assumed they've all already paid for their dealing privileges.
Our friend Tim Karr, campaign director of Free Press and our go-to guy on all matters Net Neutrality-related, has an important post up at HuffPost:
The Fate of the Internet -- Decided in a Back Room
The Wall Street Journal just reported that the Federal Communications Commission is holding "closed-door meetings" with industry to broker a deal on Net Neutrality -- the rule that lets users determine their own Internet experience.
Given that the corporations at the table all profit from gaining control over information, the outcome won't be pretty.
The meetings include a small group of industry lobbyists representing the likes of AT&T, Verizon, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and Google. They reportedly met for two-and-a-half hours on Monday morning and will convene another meeting today. The goal according to insiders is to "reach consensus" on rules of the road for the Internet.
This is what a failed democracy looks like: After years of avid public support for Net Neutrality - involving millions of people from across the political spectrum - the federal regulator quietly huddles with industry lobbyists to eliminate basic protections and serve Wall Street's bottom line.
We've seen government cater to big business in the same ways, prior to the BP oil disaster and the subprime mortgage meltdown.
Tim says, "The Industry's regulatory capture of the Internet is now almost complete," with "the one agency tasked with oversight of communications [thinking] it can wriggle free of its obligation to protect the open Internet, if only it can get industry to agree on a solution."
Meanwhile, Congress appears already at work on its sellout -- "this is the same Congress that is bankrolled by the phone and cable lobby in excess of $100 million." (Tim took a closer look at the congressional sellout in a post last month, "Will Dirty Politics Kill the Internet?")
"Why," Tim asks, "is this so startling even for the more cynical among us?"
The Obama administration promised to embrace a new era of government transparency. It's the tool we were supposed to use to pry open policymaking and expose it to the light of public scrutiny.
In that spirit, President Obama pledged to "take a backseat to no one" in his support for Net Neutrality. He appointed Julius Genachowski to head the FCC -- the man who crafted his pro-Net Neutrality platform in 2008.
But the mere existence of these private meetings reveals to us a chairman who has fallen far short of expectations. Instead Genachowski is shying from the need to fortify the Internet's open architecture in favor of deals made between DC power brokers.
These deals will determine who ultimately controls Internet content and innovation. Will phone and cable companies succeed in their decade-long push to take ownership of both the infrastructure of the Internet and the information that flows across its pipes? Will they cut in a few giant companies like Google and the recording industry to get their way?
Whatever the outcome, the public - including the tens of millions of Americans who use the Internet every day and in every way - are not being given a seat at the table.
Genachowski's closed-door sessions come after six months of public comments on whether the agency should proceed with a rule to protect Net Neutrality.
During that period, more than 85 percent of comments received by the agency called for a strong Net Neutrality rule. Look at it this way: If a candidate received more than 85 percent of the vote, wouldn't she have a mandate to decide on the public's behalf?
In Chairman Genachowski's alternative view of reality, though, the public is immaterial, and industry consensus supreme.